How She Relates
When I first meet a new client, there are distinct qualities to her that seem to resonate with most all the women I work with who struggle with binge eating or overeating. She is smart, sharp, and strikingly sensitive in a unique way. She is emotionally contained in most areas of her life, exceptionally practical and logical. But down deep, but not too far, she feels completely out of control and unable to cope no more. She is tired and worn down by most everything, mainly due to the secrets she keeps. There is an air of hate for food, but a passionate love for it and desire to have a content relationship with the things she puts in her body. She describes this problem as an addiction almost, but always discovers that unlike a drug or alcohol addiction, she needs food everyday (and multiple times a day) to live and thrive. There is a definite maturity to her and also this intense anxious urge to feel better and get control over her weight and food. She is ready for change, because time and time again the alleged path to weight loss and success have failed her. Do you relate to her?
I don’t want to get caught up in diagnosis, but if you do relate to her or are experiencing some of the below symptoms, you should definitely be preventative and have someone assess what’s going on. People who binge or compulsively overeat may:
- Think a lot about food each day
- Eat past the feeling of fullness, or eat large amounts of food in a short period of time
- Eat when not feeling physically hungry
- Eat in secrecy, or grab more food when no one is looking
- Eat at a fast pace and describe it as almost a mindless state
- Eating when upset, sad, anxious or bored
- Feelings of guilt and shame afterwards
- Feeling overwhelmed and out of control often
- Feeling worried about overeating or binge eating
Most, if not all of the women I see have come off a long stream of dieting. Even if she has not been on a formal diet for a long time, she lives with a diet mentality and cannot shake it. It is all she knows and the thought of stepping outside the rigid boundaries of a diet is frightening. Even more, she feels stuck. There is a vicious cycle that has seemingly taken over her life and she is afraid of ever getting to that end point again. The end is always the place of overconsumption and is full of shame and guilt.
I want to open your eyes to a different possibility. Of course, the binge is seriously scary and awful, but it is not the real problem. If you are stuck in a vicious cycle then it means there is a start to that cycle, and something that always seems to set it off. Do you know what sets off your cycle?